Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Have you been out recently and wondered why the crowd are holding their mobile phones to the roof?
Chances are, they're using Shazam.
I've noticed a proliferation of Shazam users over the past couple of months in Sydney clubs and bars. It seemed that as a new tune came on, someone in the venue would be holding their iPhone to the speakers, waiting for Shazam to tell them the name of the track / remix / artist. And along with this basic info, Shazam then also links directly to iTunes so you can buy the track, YouTube so you can watch the video etc etc.
Shazam is good for settling arguments. Can't agree on the name of the artist? Check with Shazam. Not sure whether this is the original mix, or the Holy Ghost remix? Check with Shazam.
But what I didn't realise until recently, was that Shazam goes beyond the iPhone application. If you check out their website, you can check out the most popular songs by region, as well as the most recent tracks that have been 'shazammed'.
It's great for looking at music trends around the world, as well as popular emerging artists (note that Shazam really reflects artists who are breaking into the mainstream... not artists who are truly just emerging). Most people who use Shazam do so because they like the track, but don't know who the artist is.
Shazam last year, after looking at the highest tagged tracks, predicted that The Ting Tings and Duffy would be mainstream huge in 2008... and they predicted right. The Ting Tings were nominated for Best UK Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards last year, and their single 'Shut Up And Let Me Go' charted at #1 in the UK Singles Charts; while Duffy won Song Of The Year at the MOJO Awards.
So, it will be interesting to see what the below artists, nominated on Monday as Shazam's ones to watch in 2009, do in the next twelve months.
Shazam's Head of Music, Will Mills, says; "With music discovery services like Shazam, music fans are making their voices heard and are as important as the critics in deciding which acts will do the business in 2009. Indeed Shazam's users do validate some of the critic's choices but they also show much more diversity in the acts they're tipping for success."
1. Kid Cudi - Kid Cudi's track 'Day n Night' is by no means new, but the artist has definitely not been getting much mainstream support outside of the US, and is only just starting to get regularly picked up by Shazam. Kudi has featured on Kanye's new album, so this may be what is helping to push him to number one in this list. Cudi's debut album is out in a few months, and if the Ting Tings and Duffy are anything to go by, it should debut high on the charts.
2. Lady Gaga - I find this one strange. Surely Lady Gaga is already a mainstream artist, and I believe she is the only grammy nominated artists to appear on this list. 'Just Dance' was the track that got her here on Shazam.
3. Empire of the Sun - It's exciting to see Australians at #3! Having only released their first single in August last year, I'm hoping to hear lots more from these two. I like them a lot.
4. Daniel Merriweather
5. White Lies
6. The Airborne Toxic Event
7. Florence and the Machine
8. Boy Better Know
9. Little Boots (topped the BBC News Sounds of 2009 poll)